Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Crime

The word “delinquency” is a strong word and when people hear it they get scared. Juvenile delinquency is occurs when a juvenile’s behavior is in violation of criminal law, juvenile status offenses, and other juvenile misconducts. On the other hand, status offenses are those misconducts committed or engaged by a juvenile and that can be presented in a juvenile court. Status offenses are those offenses illegal for a certain group of people, in this case juvenile’s, and not illegal to others, like adults. For example, the intake of tobacco, alcohol, running away from home, owning a firearm, gambling, etc. are some status offenses.

Juvenile courts differ from adult courts, but on the other hand, they are similar. Juvenile courts serve more of a guide for children who commit some sort of wrongdoing. For example, the state is the higher or ultimate parent for children within the jurisdiction. Courts save children from continuing through the wrong paths, nurture them while in the process, reform, and take primary consideration for those noncriminal procedures. In an adult court, the most important part is the due process and justice and not necessarily the person. Juveniles are known as delinquents as for adults are criminals. Both juveniles and adults receive their Miranda rights and have the same authority figures.

When it comes to the variables that relate with juvenile crime rates it basically deals with similar variables that deal with adult crime rates. Juveniles tend to be more gullible when it comes to gangs and bad influences. With those bad influences come drugs, crimes, vandalism, etc. and crime rates obviously go up. When juveniles begin doing those wrongdoings at an early age they might learn not to continue doing them if they get taken into custody. On the other hand, they might not and still continue doing them throughout their juvenile lives into adult lives, which can ensure them him or her ending up in prison. Adults go through the same process when it comes to following the wrong crowds.

According to Frontline, “Juvenile violent crime is at its lowest level since 1987, and fell 30% between 1994 and 1998. Fewer than half of serious violent crimes by juveniles are reported to law enforcement. This number has not changed significantly in 20 years. The rate at which juveniles committed serious violent crimes changed little between 1973 and 1989, peaked in 1993, and by 1997 declined to the lowest level since 1986. On average, juveniles were involved in one-quarter of all serious violent victimizations (not including murder) committed annually over the last 25 years” (2013). Parents are becoming more and more knowledgeable and are raising their children with integrity. Juveniles see all the things that are happening in today’s world and could be potentially afraid to commit any wrongdoing to pay the price of potential incarceration.

When juveniles commit big offenses they are tried as an adult. When a juvenile is tried as an adult it means he or she probably will be incarcerated for a long time. Some people believe that if all juveniles received adult sentencing for their crimes there would be fewer crimes committed by juveniles. In a way that could work but we go back to overcrowding this is currently happening. More juveniles would not only but also be incarcerated for a longer time in comparison to the juvenile system. I believe the system we have right now for juveniles work and those who commit bigger crimes should be tried as an adult.

I think an issue that can easily be fixed is that of continuing support to those juveniles and their parents after they complete their time. The court should follow the juvenile for at least another year after his or her sentencing to make sure he or she is in the right path with school, friends, society, etc. Without that support the juvenile can easily go back to those mischievous ways that got him or her in the juvenile system in the first place. Although most parents are good when it comes to supporting and educating their children right from wrong it is never too much to have a little extra help when dealing with children. Even though the juvenile system nurtures and takes care of those specific juveniles it is very easy to go back to old habits when the court is not involved anymore and when at home it is not a priority to stay on top of the children.